"Mzazi wake ni mwalimu"

Translation:Her parent is a teacher

March 21, 2017



"His parent is a teacher" is wrong? His or her can not be distinguished, correct?

January 21, 2019


I am also confused by this! How do we know she's female?

February 4, 2019


Professions are gendered in a stereotypical way (she is murse, he is carpenter)

February 5, 2019


That's not an explanation why "her parent is a teacher" is accepted but "his parent is a teacher" is not. The gender isn't regarding the teacher but the undefined child of the teacher.

And at the same time you are suggesting that one cannot say "he is a nurse" in Swahili?

March 6, 2019


This gender error needs to be fixed. "His parent..." is correct.

March 14, 2019


Why is it wake and not lake?

April 15, 2017


There is a concept of classes which the nouns should belong. Also, possessive pronouns, adjectives etc have to agree with the class of the noun. For example, here "mzazi" belongs to the m - wa class , so the possessive has to be "wangu" to agree with the class of mzazi for the corresponding English "my".

If the example had been "My book ... ", the Swahili would have been "Kitabu changu ..." and "My books ..." would be "Vitabu vyangu ..." . Notice the pattern. I hope that helps.

April 20, 2017


I did find this out later yes, thank you! But there are words that belong to the m - wa class, which stem from Arabic, that get the y- prefix right? Like dada or kaka. Are there any other exceptions?

April 21, 2017

  • 1845

I wouldn't say that dada and kaka are in the M/WA class, since their singular and plural forms are identical, and they agree with verbs like N/N nouns. Wiktionary says "dada (n class, plural dada)". I find it weird that they don't get M/WA agreement on the basis of being animate (N/N animals do), but that's the way it is.

Also, not all Arabic-derived words for people are like this; mwalimu comes from Arabic! (It's probably helped by the fact that the original Arabic verb starts with mu-, so it's a pretty short step for Swahili to reanalyze the Arabic form II active participle as having an M/WA prefix, especially since it describes a person. A similar thing happens with kitabu, where the k is an integral part of the Arabic root, but in Swahili it becomes part of the prefix.)

April 21, 2017


Asante sana! I believe I saw them listed under the M-WA class somewhere, but it makes much more sense that they are in the N/N class instead. Yea me too.. but indeed, you cannot argue with language. It is the way it is.

Okay good to know!

April 21, 2017


My parent is a teacher.

March 21, 2017

  • 1845

That would be Mzazi wangu ni mwalimu

March 22, 2017


Wazazi yangu ni mwalimu

June 25, 2017


Wazazi indicates that it's plural so that mwalimu becomes walimu to also indicate plural as well

April 22, 2019, 12:27 AM
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